O2 clearly has big plans for the future. Not only did it buy a huge chunk of spectrum during the recent Ofcom auction, It's just teamed up with communications infrastructure company Arqiva to improve the mobile connectivity in a number of London boroughs. The idea being to improve the general connectivity for people, ready for when 5G services start going online.
Under the new agreement 300 outdoor small cells will be installed in 14 of London's boroughs, improving the data capacity for people in the surrounding area. The areas currently named are Hammersmith and Fulham, Richmond upon Thames, Wandsworth, Camden, and Lambeth with the cells going online between this summer and 2020. The hardware is set to be installed on 'street assets', which includes things like lampposts, in order to offer improved and targeted coverage in some of the busiest areas of London.
While this rollout has obvious immediate benefits, O2 believes it will increase the speed of 5G deployment in the near future. If you've read up on 5G you'll know that coverage expansion is going to be a slow process, so the fact O2 is already preparing for the inevitable spectrum upgrade is definitely a good thing.
Brendan O’Reilly, Chief Technical Officer, O2, said:
“National 5G infrastructure – when it arrives in a few years’ time – will not only have a crucial impact on our economy, it will change the way we live our lives. Our partnership with Arqiva reflects this belief and demonstrates our commitment to exploring opportunities to provide the increased capacity and denser coverage our customers deserve in the areas they need it most. Only by working together, with industry partners, regulators, and government policy makers, will we be able to continue delivering the best for our customers and to help the UK maintain the digital leadership we have all worked so hard to establish”.
There are no more specifics at this point, but improving mobile coverage, especially data capacity, is a good thing. Nobody wants to be out in the real world and find that they can't use their data because everyone else is clogging up the system.